Tesla Pays CEO Musk $70,000 Following $78 Million Year

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc. and one of the wealthiest U.S. entrepreneurs, saw his take-home pay from the automaker plunge to less than $70,000 last year, following a 2012 surge in his stock options.

Musk, Tesla’s 42-year-old co-founder, received total compensation of $69,989 in 2013, down from $78.2 million a year earlier, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a filing. The value of stock and options in 2013 was $36,709, down from the previous year’s $78.1 million, which was a performance-oriented option that vests over a decade.

While Musk is awarded cash compensation of $33,280, consistent with California minimum wage requirements, he accepts $1 a year for his services, according to the filing.

Compensation for the leader of the youngest publicly held U.S. automaker compares with a $23.2 million package for Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally. Ford is planning to announce as soon as next month that Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields will succeed Mulally as CEO this year, people familiar with the matter have said.

Musk’s large option award in 2012 was intended as compensation over a 10-year term, based on achieving specific goals, the company said in the filing. Those include the market capitalization reaching $43.2 billion within a decade; it’s $25.8 billion now and was $3.9 billion at the end of 2012.

To get the full value, Tesla also must expand its lineup with the Model X sport-utility vehicle, a lower-priced sedan, and raise its electric vehicle production to 300,000 units annually with Musk still at the company.

Entrepreneurial Wealth

As an entrepreneur, most of Musk’s wealth has come from starting and owning companies, rather than salary. He is Tesla’s biggest shareholder, with a 23 percent stake, runs closely held Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and is chairman of SolarCity Corp.

His holdings in the companies give him net worth of about $10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Tesla this week began delivering Model S sedans, built at the company’s Fremont, California, plant to customers in China. Musk has said Tesla sales in the world’s biggest auto market may match those in the U.S. as early as next year.

“At some point in the next three or four years we’ll be establishing local manufacturing in China,” Musk said in Beijing this week. “China is very important to the future of Tesla. We’re going to make a big investment in China in terms of charging infrastructure.”

Quarterly Results

In the 12 months through February, Tesla notched a 619 percent share price increase, the best of any international automaker in at least two decades.

Tesla is set to release first-quarter results May 7. The company may report earnings of 9 cents a share for the year’s first three months, excluding certain items, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. On a GAAP basis, it may have lost 19 cents per share, analysts estimate.

The shares fell 3.9 percent to $199.85 at the close in New York. The stock has risen 33 percent this year.

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